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National Archivist Allen Weinstein Resigns

National Archivist Allen Weinstein Resigns: On December 7, historian Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, submitted his resignation to the president, effective December 19, 2008. Professor Weinstein, who has Parkinson's disease, cited health reasons for his decision.
Deputy Archivist of the United States, Adrienne Thomas, will serve as Acting Archivist until a new Archivist is appointed, in accordance with the National Archives governing statute, 44 USC 2103(c).

[Black] Friday is the National Day of Listening

It doesn't have to be a day of frenzied shopping...

David Isay, one of the most original minds in media, is the creator of Story Corps, the nationwide project that gets ordinary people to sit together and tell the stories that we never take the time to hear from our parents, grandparents, friends and other loved ones. Some of those stories end up on NPR, and some are just recorded for a family's own safekeeping.

Now, Isay has decided to respond to the economic crisis with a National Day of Listening, on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It's a way to capitalize on the fact that many of us will spend the holiday weekend with relatives or friends, and while we'll catch up on what's going on at work and how the family is doing, it's much harder to carve out the time and figure out how to ask the essential questions about life that too often never get asked. On the Story Corps website, there's a DIY page that offers recommendations for, well, doing it yourself...

Beats going to Kohl's at 4:00 am?

Treasures From a Musty Attic Go To the Historical Society

When cleaning out the attic of the Guilford H. Hathaway (MA) Library, Michael McCue and others found more than just some musty items and cobwebs.

Instead, they found historical treasures from the 19th century to the mid-20th century that they now plan to preserve at the Historical Society Museum on Slab Bridge Road.

Among the artifacts were pencil sketches of two town officials, Guilford Hathaway and George W. Hall; a handwritten list of World War II airplane spotters who were town residents; items from the town’s various Temperance Society groups; collars and other pieces of clothing from town marching band uniforms; and an 1897 original layout of the Assonet Burying Ground.

Were You There When Ike Hit? Tell The Library Your Story

GALVESTON, Texas — A Hurricane Ike-damaged library wants to share stories of Galveston residents who rode out the storm on the island and those who fled.

From The Houston Chronicle: The Rosenberg Library is seeking personal accounts of the hurricane, which hit Galveston on Sept. 13, as part of its historical project "Memories of Ike."

The library, on its Web site, says recording Hurricane Ike from the viewpoint of the everyday citizen offers a chance to understand the disaster from the "ground up."

The Rosenberg Library also welcomes personal accounts of those who evacuated, with the written information eventually being made available to researchers and authors. The library itself is an Ike survival story, after the storm surge swamped the first floor and destroyed some building internal systems.

Leonardo codex to be dismantled

Charley Hively found This One where The world's top Leonardo Da Vinci expert on Tuesday spoke out in favour of dismantling a 12-volume collection of work by the Renaissance genius. Commenting on plans to reverse a controversial 1970s restoration project, which would leave the Codex Atlanticus as a bundle of loose pages, Carlo Pedretti said he approved of the proposal. ''The damage has already been done. The Codex Atlanticus was ruined when its pages were first assembled into 12 volumes,'' he said.

A Taste of Culinary History at the Toronto Reference Library

From now through January 11th, 2009, the Toronto Reference Library (TRL) is offering a peek into the history of food in Toronto through an exhibit in their gallery space called Local Flavour: Eating in Toronto, 1830-1955.

Curated by librarian Sheila Carleton of the Special Collections, Genealogy & Maps Centre, the idea for the exhibit came about because of the opportunity to restore some historical cookbooks in the TRL’s collection. “In 2006, the Toronto Reference Library was invited to apply for a grant from the Culinary Trust for restoration of up to 4 historical cookbooks in our collection,” explains Carleton. “Our application was accepted and two local conservators were commissioned to carry out the work."

And for the recession-wary, a look at a few old menus is sure to amuse – in 1904, the calf’s head with mushrooms was only 25 cents at Webb’s; and a chicken dinner with soup, salad and dessert, plus tea, coffee or hot chocolate was $1.25 at Traymore Savarin on Bay Street in 1925.

Political Life Imitates, Well Not Art, but The Onion

The folks at Boingboing have unearthed an uncannily topical story from a 1993 issue of The Onion.

"The Onion has a preposterous fake story about a character named Roy the Forklift driver becoming a media darling of the conservative movement. "

Aren't archives grand?

Deja Vu All Over Again as Rains Drench Hawaii

It was the third time in four years that the library has suffered during fall rains. "It seems like every year around this time," said Kyle Hamada, conservation librarian at the University of Hawaii's Hamilton Library.

About a year ago, Hamilton Library suffered about $500,000 worth of damage when thousands of books and rare documents were wrecked by heavy rain.

This time, says a report from the Honolulu Advertiser, the flooding was apparently caused by repair work debris that clogged drain pipes. The library continues to recover from damage caused in 2004 during flooding on Halloween.

Facing Tough Times, Archive Prepares To Close

Facing Tough Times, Archive Prepares To Close: After 36 years as a standalone organization, the Philadelphia Jewish Archive Center will be shutting down sometime in early 2009 in response to a budget crunch. Its collections, which span nearly 200 years of Philadelphia Jewish history, will be absorbed into the archives of nearby Temple University.

All About Yaddo

From the New York Times an article about a forthcoming exhibition at the NYPL on the artists' retreat, Yaddo.

In 1899 Katrina Trask, desolate over the death of their four children, proposed to her husband, Spencer, that they turn Yaddo, their 400-acre estate outside Saratoga Springs, N.Y., into an artists’ retreat. He was a baron of the Gilded Age. She was a pre-Raphaelite figure who wore gauzy white dresses and wrote poetry about the days of King Arthur, and she imagined the place as a perpetual house party of writers, artists and musicians.

There was writing, there was painting and composing, but it sounds like there more than a bit of sleeping around too. Among other choice tidbits from the article..."John Cheever used to boast that he had enjoyed sex on every flat surface in the mansion, not to mention the garden and the fields. It was at Yaddo that Newton Arvin, a literary critic and professor at Smith College, met and began a long affair with the young Truman Capote, or “Precious Spooky,” as he calls him in a couple of charming letters, on display at the library. The novelist Henry Roth met his wife, the composer Muriel Parker, there, and the novelist Josephine Herbst started enduring relationships with the painter Marion Greenwood and the poet Jean Garrigue (who was also having an affair with another Yaddo resident, Alfred Kazin).

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